It’s one of my favorite times of year – Farmer’s Market and CSA season! Many of my favorite fruits and vegetables are at their peak, and because I take part in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), my basket each week frequently contains exotic surprises that make for new favorites. With as much as we’ve heard about Kate’s passion for cooking, as well as the reports of her shopping at farm stores close to Anmer Hall, I suspect it is one of the Duchess’s favorite times of year, too! I like to imagine that when Prince Charles pops over to Norfolk for a little time with his grandchildren, that he brings Kate a basket from the Highgrove Kitchen Garden; very different kind of CSA – Charles-Supplied Agriculture, if you’ll forgive the pun. So as I sort through my basket each week, I often wonder: what would Kate cook with a bounty of seasonal English vegetables?
While there are plenty of similarities between typical summer offerings in England and the ones I experience in North America – more than enough zucchini/courgettes & tomatoes to go around – the English climate and latitude lend itself to a slightly different harvest than elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. (The BBC Good Food site has an excellent chart illustrating the growing seasons of numerous fruits and vegetables in Britain.)
Tomatoes are a perennial summer favorite in nearly every locale, and we can easily imagine Catherine throwing together an easy tomato salad to share with William over dinner after George and Charlotte are tucked away in bed. It’s equally easy to imagine Kate and George working in the kitchen together on a margherita pizza with fresh tomatoes – rumored to be one of her favorites, and always a smash success with kids.
Broad beans (called fava beans on this side of the Pond), on the other hand, aren’t nearly as common in American cooking. London chef Ottolenghi (and garden to table enthusiast) recommends combining broad beans and gem lettuce in a summer stew. The National Trust, in its sadly-out-of-print book of Celebrations Recipes recommends a creamy broad bean and potato soup for a summertime street party.
For an afternoon picnic on the grounds of Sandringham, Kate can’t go wrong with a classic potato salad. Potatoes in some variety are almost always available; however, several special English varieties would make for a special treat.
No list of summer fruits and vegetables would be complete without giving strawberries their due! Strawberries and cream are synonymous with Wimbledon – a highlight of Kate’s calendar since her pre-Duchess days. It is likewise quite telling that British chefs from opposite ends of the spectrum (from foodie to familiar) feature strawberry recipes on their websites this month. Knowing that Catherine has a penchant for baking, I could readily see her putting together an Eton Mess for William. If she had an abundance of berries leftover, she would likely put them up as jam – either for the Cambridge household to enjoy, or as a special gift as she has done in the past.
We would love to hear from our readers – what English summer recipes do you think Kate would make?